Should I Do Cardio Or Yoga First?

In the health and fitness industry, there are dozens of dos and don’ts, each of them differing from the previous rule. Some folks argue that their way is the best way, while others are vehemently against that particular methodology. 

One thing most folks can agree on, though, is that everybody’s fitness journey is different – what works for one person might not work for another. So, it’s important to listen to your body and judge what works best for your overall health and well-being. 

As you work to hone your fitness regime, you might consider incorporating several different types of exercise, like weightlifting and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) or cardio and yoga. However, with more than one type in your regime, you might ask yourself, “Should I do yoga or cardio first (or whatever is applicable?” 

Hybrid workouts can be incredibly beneficial, but in what order should you do them?

Can I Do Cardio And Yoga On The Same Day?

Absolutely, you can do cardio and yoga on the same day. Hybrid workouts can work wonders for some folks, accelerating their results and putting them well on their way to their goals. Each exercise targets different goals, so combining the two results in a well-rounded routine. 

Of course, it depends on what kind of yoga you prefer. Hot yoga, like Bikram yoga, is entirely different from other types, like restorative or yin, which are at a much slower pace. Instead of focusing on heart-pumping holds in challenging yoga poses, other types of yoga prioritize deep, long holds to challenge your flexibility. 

Is It Best To Do Yoga Before Or After A Run?

Generally, it’s best to do yoga after your run. While you can go on a run after yoga, it doesn’t make sense to organize it this way for most folks. Perhaps you enjoy the mental focus required to go on a run after yoga, or maybe it doesn’t align with your goals to do it that way. Ultimately, it’s up to you. 

Generally speaking, it’s best to run before yoga instead of after it. However, if you’re unsure which way to organize your exercise regime, there are a few things to consider.  

Type Of Yoga

Generally speaking, it’s best to run before yoga instead of after it. Why? There are a few reasons for this. First, you need to evaluate what kind of yoga you’re doing. Many folks use yoga as a way to calm their mind and focus on recovery and healing. 

Yoga often gives a sense of calm and tranquility, allowing them to cool down and relax after a strenuous day. On the other hand, cardio warms up your body and gets your heart rate pumping. 

So, if you go on a run right before your workout, your heart rate is up, your muscles are warm, and your mind is active. This is a perfect time to slow down with a calming yoga flow. Your yoga routine will help stretch your muscles while they’re primed and warm, but it also helps slow your heart rate and calm your mind. 

Of course, you can always flip this the other way and do yoga first, as this might make more sense. Perhaps your schedule doesn’t allow for a run before your yoga class – that is entirely okay. You can always run after yoga, but remember to cool down properly. 

Or, perhaps you’re participating in a hot yoga class and aren’t sure if running beforehand is a good idea. You would be right – hot yoga, like Bikram yoga, is considered a cardiovascular workout. The classroom is a sweltering 105 degrees Fahrenheit, elevating your heart rate without doing any moves. 

The heat alone will cause you to sweat profusely but add movement to that, and you’ll probably sweat like you never have before. If you run before hot yoga, you might not feel energized enough to power through the class due to hydration and muscle fatigue. 


Another thing to consider is your fitness goals. What are you trying to achieve? Are you looking to improve flexibility and mobility? Are you focusing on muscle mass and strength improvements? 

These answers can help you determine which way to organize your schedule. For example, let’s say your goal is to improve your flexibility and mobility. If you move through your yoga flow before running, you might not notice as good results. Why? Unless you warm up, your muscles are still “cold” and relatively inflexible. 

So, you might not be able to get very deep into stretches without hurting yourself. You may end up restricted to short movements and shallow stretches. This is entirely okay but might not align with your goals.

If you’re hoping to boost your flexibility and mobility, you should run first and practice yoga second. After your run, your muscles will be warmer and more limber, allowing you to get deeper into stretches. This allows you to challenge and hone your mobility, helping steer you toward your goal. 

On the other hand, let’s say you want to incorporate a very short yoga session into your day, maybe around 15 minutes. In this case, you could use your yoga session as a way to warm up for your run. 

If you opt for this approach, try doing dynamic stretches that challenge and heat up your muscles instead of static stretches that challenge deep stretching. Dynamic moves will help elevate your heart rate slightly and warm up your muscles, preparing you for the run ahead. 

Will Adding Yoga To My Running Routine Help Me?

Adding yoga to your exercise routine, whatever it may be(weight training, running, HIIT, etc.), is an excellent way to bolster your physical and mental health. Numerous scientific studies show the physical and mental benefits that yoga offers. 

If you’re trying to take your fitness routine to the next level, yoga might be the perfect way to do it! Of course, it depends on what kind of yoga you do and how you incorporate it into your routine. However, the benefits don’t discriminate, so you should notice improvements regardless of how you organize your schedule. 

Increased Mobility And Flexibility

For example, let’s say your mobility or flexibility isn’t as great as you’d like, so you decide to try yoga. Studies show that regularly practicing yoga can improve joint flexion, trunk extension, and increased oxygen intake. On top of that, regular yoga can even help you meet your weight loss goals.

Improvements In The Form Of Reductions

Aside from improvements, some of the benefits of yoga come in the form of reductions. Harvard studies prove the association between yoga and decreased back pain, lower frequency of migraines, decreased joint/arthritis pain, reduced symptoms of depression, and reduced fibromyalgia pain. 

Hormone And Physiological Regulation

Yoga also has been proven to reduce cortisol levels, particularly in women. Cortisol affects the body in a specific way when the individual is under stress, so it’s often referred to as the “stress hormone.” 

In a physiological sense, it’s what regulates your energy by selecting what substrate (fat, protein, or carbohydrate) the body needs to perform its processes. When cortisol levels are irregular, individuals may notice weight gain, high-calorie food cravings, or a weakened immune system or gastrointestinal system. 

What Is “Regular Yoga Practice?”

Remember, a “regular yoga practice” is defined as practicing yoga for 45-75 minutes two times or more per week. It includes between 5 and 10 minutes of meditative breath work (aka pranayama), 30 to 60 minutes of dynamic movement (called asana), followed by 5 to 10 minutes of supine relaxation (called savasana). 

Every yoga session doesn’t always have to meet these standards. This isn’t to say you won’t benefit from adding yoga if you don’t meet these blocks. However, you might not notice the maximum benefits from a shorter practicing period where you shorten or skip some of these components.